Written By: - Date published: 10:07 am, August 10th, 2015 - 82 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, boycott, class war, democracy under attack, jobs, Unions, wages, workers' rights - Tags: andrew talley, brighter future
Today’s strike and rally by 1000 members of the Meat Workers Union at AFFCO plants has been called off.
This came about after a meeting yesterday with MWU AFFCO Shed Delegates and Andrew Talley, organised by Iwi leaders, Tuku Morgan and Ken Mair. No agreements were reached. Workers still continue on their awful, inferior individual agreements.
Andrew Talley promised that negotiations will be held some time in the next two months, but only with a union they approve.
This effectively means that the owners of the company will determine who represents the workers. Not only does this cut across our obligations in the ILO, it may also break current employment legislation that requires that an employer cannot put pressure on a worker about joining or not joining a union. It’s a sham.
Andrew Talley told the delegates that his family will never settle a collective with the NZ Meat Workers Union. So much for good faith bargaining!
A compromise of having the workers join another established union was also put forward and rejected by Talleys. They want a compliant, company approved organisation, not a democratic union that will put workers first.
Iwi have promised to help the AFFCO workers to set up a new union and to be at the table. Cold comfort that a former right wing MP will have an influence on how that union will look.
During the day, NZMWU President Mike Nahu and the CTU’s Helen Kelly were consulted. Both did their utmost to find solutions, but all their suggestions were rejected by Talleys.
After the talks, shed delegates went back home and started telling workers not to strike. A couple of sheds had meetings, but it was all over.
Many workers are understandably upset and confused. It’s not the workers’ fault. They are desperate. Life is shit working for this company. The brighter future just clouded over.
The promise of a new AFFCO only union, with Iwi looking over the shoulder, has convinced the shed delegates there might be a brave new way. It might work, but it’s hard to see how separating out a group of workers from other sheds and firms, and relying on Talleys to do the right thing can make a difference. Talleys want to divide and conquer and the history of company unions in New Zealand is bleak. None have achieved anything of note and none have been effective in stopping claw backs on wages and conditions.
It’s possible that setting up a new union will be a way through a bargaining impasse. Another view is that Talley’s has just achieved a union busting master stroke.
Kia kaha to the workers and their real union.
I’ll be continuing to #talleyban until the MWU get a collective in place at AFFCO. And, no, I don’t care how long that takes. Principles are for life and the union forever.